Television

MTV Networks' Music & Logo Group launches 'hyper-programmed' online verticals

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MUMBAI: MTV Networks' Music and Logo Group have announced an aggressive development of more than 20 "hyper-programmed" online experiences or vertical channels, that are web content plays designed for the interactive, on-demand environment.

The channels, many of which have been in development for months, will debut in the first and second quarters of 2007 and will enable their users to explore and engage in their personal interests, obsessions and topics of choice by covering a range of subjects including: music genres and sub- genres, celebrity fashion and style, personal growth and faith and spirituality, among others, informs an official release.

Delivering on a two-way proposition, audiences will be able to actively "hyper-program" a number of these vertical channels themselves through next- generation web tools that allow users to help discover, curate, edit and upload content. MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo will seek to acquire, partner on or organically develop the properties, depending on the topic.

A number of verticals under development will serve as companion sites to existing popular television franchises and focus on relevant topics that resonate with their fans. For instance, a vertical built around VH1's "Web Junk 20" is geared toward serving as a guide and daily source of viral videos, while others will be stand-alone creative propositions, without television companions, informs an official release.

Earlier this year, as an experiment in this direction, VH1 launched a stand-alone site bestweekever.tv. As a companion vertical to the popular "Best Week Ever" TV franchise, this new site offers a selection of pop culture nuggets and includes a host of exclusive mobile and video content in real-time. The site also allows users to create their own front page gossip by uploading their own video and news.

Similarly, this past fall, MTV launched 'Virtual Laguna Beach', an entirely stand-alone virtual world tied to the TV series, and a first of its kind. Additionally, in June Logo acquired three stand-alone sites, AfterEllen.com, AfterElton.com and 365Gay.com independently complimenting Logoonline.com and serving the gay, lesbian bi and transgender audience, adds the release.

"These serve as successful models for a new interactive, hyper-programming approach and represent the next phase in the evolution of media for consumers, from broadcast networks to cable channels and now to hyper-programmed verticals," said MTV Networks' Music and Logo Group president Van Toffler. "Just as MTV networks blazed new territory by establishing linear cable networks built around specific interests and lifestyles, we are now developing new online experiences around niche topics that resonate with our current audiences, as well as those subversive web surfers."

"These verticals can be viewed as 'front doors' into the wide spectrum of passionate and specific interests that reflect our audiences' tastes and desires," added Entertainment for the MTV Networks Music Group president and Logo president of Brian Graden. "Each project gives us a unique and liberating opportunity to indulge the unique aspects of Web 2.0 technology in an effort to do what we've always done well, super-serve niche audiences."

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